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Maybe It's Time to Increase Your Writing Fees

Your writing may be worth more than you think!

Whatís your hourly rate? What are your costs of doing business? Do you have savings for yourself, for taxes, for emergencies? What is your current financial picture? Do you know?

Many freelancers have trouble setting their fees for two reasons:

  • Poor understanding of their worth as a writer
  • Vagueness about their financial situation

A Writerís Worth

My hunch is youíre worth more than you think. If you havenít really looked at what you charge in the last six months or so, itís time to reexamine how and what you charge closely.

Each year, Writerís Market, the book, publishes a section on How Much Should I Charge? It shows
a range of fees in a wide range of categories drawn from writerís actual experiences. A less helpful, but perhaps more current version is on their website at How Much Should I Charge?

Another useful resource is the Professional Fee Guidelines at What to Pay Writers. Although aimed at Canadians, it has application in the U.S. too.

Google your search with search terms like copywriting fees, ghostwriting fees, etc. Youíll have to plow through lots of information, but the fees are there.

Eliminate Vagueness in Your Writing Fees

Before you actually set your fees, you need to know your expenses. Debra Jason, in her excellent article, How To Set Your Fees As A Freelance Writer, lists 9 categories - rent, equipment, supplies, postage, Internet, furniture, long distance, publications, and association dues. Iíd add:

  • Taxes Ė IRS, state and self-employment
  • Health Insurance
  • Savings
  • Charitable donations/tithe
  • Retirement
  • Business reinvestment Ė money you plough back into your business for whatever reason, including marketing.
  • Debt elimination

Some of these are a given. That is, you know what youíre paying in rent or mortgage; if youíre working from home, you can figure out what percentage goes for your home office. Your Internet bill is probably static as are magazine subscriptions and association dues and your health insurance and maybe your retirement plan.

For fee setting purposes you can ballpark your taxes at a percentage Ė at least 20% and often as high as 35%; savings should probably be at least 10% and so forth.

You can then use these figures to create a mock spending plan, aka budget, which will show you what you actually need to earn in a year or a month or both. With this information, youíre in a position to set your hourly rate. It will probably take some fiddling, but you donít have to do it all at once.

Itís actually a good idea to create a spending plan for each project and then track your actual time and expenses for that project. Youíll probably discover that youíve undercharged the first couple of times you do this, but you can always adjust as needed.

As freelancers weíre entitled to earn a goodly amount. Exactly how much depends on your experience and your moxie. Getting clear on your worth and your actual financial condition is a good way to decide if itís time to increase your fees or not.

Write well and often!



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Email Anne: Anne@AboutFreelanceWriting.com

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